Nail the interview, get the job! Zuziwe Magi, Proctor and Gamble Your first job interview needn?t be a nerve-wracking experience. With enough preparation you can go in there cool, calm and collected. So, research the company you?re interviewing at, as well as the industry it operates in, visit its Web site and google it to find any recent news articles the firm and its competitors. Knowing what the company does, who it competes with and what its recent achievements have been will help you answer questions about where you see yourself fitting in, and why you want to work for the company. It will also help you prepare questions to ask the interviewer regarding your own career development. Know yourself You can expect to be asked what your strengths and weaknesses are, how you feel your university experience has prepared you for the workplace, what the biggest asset is you can offer the company and what you have done to prepare yourself for the workplace. If you don?t know yourself well, you will find it difficult to answer these questions. Zuziwe Magi, CMK associate manager at Proctor and Gamble, joined the company straight after graduating and advises honesty. ?Answer questions as truthfully as possible but try to avoid knocking yourself down. Give practical examples of where you?ve excelled and any leadership positions you?ve experienced. Don?t be ashamed to sell the brand ?You?. It?s not rude, it?s expected!? Body basics Your body language is just as important in an interview as what comes out of your mouth. Walk slowly and deliberately with your shoulders back. Walk tall. Give a firm handshake and maintain eye contact. Don?t stare. Look away from time to time but don?t look down. Listen. Show enthusiasm, be alert. Give non-verbal feedback by smiling and nodding. Control your movements. Don?t hurry. Don?t fidget and avoid expansive hand gestures. Don?t forget to breathe. Don?t be aggressive or act superior, conceited or overbearing. Speak clearly with good diction and grammar. Don?t chatter. Don?t lose concentration or attention. Source: www.adtalent.co.za Calm your nerves Being well prepared will help you feel less nervous. ?I just took deep breathes and tried not to think about messing up!? laughs Magi. Gayleen Baxter, chief operating officer at recruitment agency Kelly, agrees. ?Whatever happens keep your answers 100 percent truthful. No matter how nervous you are, you will never forget where you studied or what your current job entails. The wording may not come out as planned but that is also okay. Just relax and breathe!? Xolisa Dhlamini, a recent graduate recruit and now an associate consultant at Alexander Forbes Asset Consultants, had this advice. ?I listen to music to calm my nerves. I pop a CD in the machine and choose tracks that make me feel like I?m the best thing since sliced bread. Corny I know, but it worked for me!? Don?t sweat the small stuff. If you?ve spilled something on your shirt or lost a crucial button in the taxi, it?s not the end of the world. ?The reality is that you are only human,? Baxter says. ?Should this happen explain the situation and move on.? Common mistakes Baxter says the most common mistakes people make in interviews are: Making negative remarks about present or past employers Broaching controversial topics such as politics or economics Being late Not listening to questions and showing bad body language Lying Try to arrive at the interview five to 15 minutes early to avoid stressing about traffic and to give yourself time to settle down before you go in. If you are running late, phone ahead. You will be given the opportunity towards the end of the interview to ask questions. ?Prepare the questions you will ask,? Baxter advises, ?and remember that an interview is a two-way communication process. The interviewer will try to determine through questioning if you have the qualifications necessary to do the job. You must determine through questioning whether the company will provide the opportunity for the growth and development you seek.? Skip the money question, though. ?Enquire about salary, annual leave, bonuses etc. only if the interviewer raises this first,? is Baxter?s advice. ?Know your market value and be prepared to specify your required salary range. Don?t be too discouraged if no definite offer is made or specific salary discussed. The interviewer will probably want to consult with colleagues first or interview other candidates before making a decision.? On a final note ? don?t take it personally if you don?t land the first job you interview for. It could come down to something as simple as company culture fit, and if this isn?t right you won?t be happy in the job either.